Energy Force Ambassador Program is the country's first energy-efficiency education program designed for and taught by people with disabilities. Read below to learn more about the Energy Force Ambassadors.
Trinity Services, Inc.
Theresa has lived in the Chicagoland area all of her life. Theresa enjoys crafting, attending church and exercising. She has worked as a retail associate at Walgreens since October, 2010 displaying her strong work ethic and commitment to a job well done. When given the opportunity, she volunteers at a local Nursing home and participates in the Meals on Wheels program by delivering food to residents in the community.
Alex graduated from Orchard Village's Orchard Academy in 2013. He was first employed at Great Lakes Naval Base, where he quickly distinguished himself as a leader. He completed courses to become a crew leader, and worked in that capacity for over a year. Alex recently left the Naval Base and is currently employed at Buffalo Wild Wings, where he performs maintenance work. In his free time, he is an athlete with Special Olympics and plays on the basketball, softball, and track teams. He has won a number of medals for his athleticism. Alex is also exceptionally friendly and outgoing. He is always willing to help out and lend a hand to those in need. When asked about his future, he dreams of living independently and being able to support himself financially.
Garland is a well-liked and respected individual and advocate of the disability community. Garland has been a consumer with Access Living for more than five years. While going to Access Living to receive services, Garland has been very beneficial in helping other people with disabilities gain greater confidence and self-esteem by serving as a positive role model.
Neumann Family Services
Anthony is a lifelong Chicago resident who has been participating in programs at Neumann Family Services for over 15 years. While at Neumann, Anthony has been a great role model to his peers through his strong work history and high level of independence. Additionally, Anthony always maintains a positive and helpful attitude. He previously worked at Starbucks as a barista for 8 years and more recently began working at Jewel. Anthony has received compliments on his strong work ethic and commitment to doing his job well.
Tracey was Born in Korea and came to Illinois when she only 5 yrs old. Tracey continued her education in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and graduated high school in 1996. Tracey has been with Clearbrook for quite a long time and enjoys volunteering and helping other clients with their daily activities. She has volunteered at various places such as Seasons, Feed My Starving Children, La Casa, and Northwest Compass. Tracey is kind, charming, and is very good at helping people with tasks. She is a social butterfly and loves interacting with everyone she comes into contact with.
Trinity Services South
Keyanna graduated from Lincoln-Way Central High School and was an active part of her school’s choir and participated in the school musical. Keyanna has a beautiful singing voice and is currently a valued member of her church choir. She is now looking forward to starting her college coursework in the fall and plans to major in psychology with an emphasis in music therapy. She has a love for helping people and hopes to use music therapy to reach people and help them be understood. Keyanna feels that the most valuable lesson that one can learn is “accepting the value of diversity.”
Jessica has an endless array of skills that have made her an impeccable role model for her peers through the years. A Texan at birth, Jessica's journey to Chicago began in the mid 90's as she was a graduate of Saint Gregory High School in 1999. Post graduation Jessica focused on exploring her talents through a position as an usher at Wrigley Field as well as an activity assistant at a retirement community.
Bill is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work and has a passion for the environment. Before obtaining his degree, Bill held several manufacturing positions. However, after Bill acquired his brain injury he knew he had to switch gears. It was then that Bill realized he wanted to help other people in the same way that he was helped during his recovery. Bill is an active member at Grace Lutheran Church and is hoping to assist with an up and coming mobile food pantry.
Special Olympics Illinois
Daniel Weiner is a retired athlete who remains an active volunteer and supporter of Special Olympics Illinois. He is a graduate of Wright City College and Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. Daniel does not allow autism to impede his social life. He is very involved with his high school alumni association, attending events and volunteering in the office. He works as a mold-maker at a studio in Melrose Park, where he helps produce ghoulish Halloween and theatrical masks. Daniel plays the guitar and possesses a vast knowledge of music trivia, from classical to heavy metal. He loves to explore communities in and around Chicago, and looks forward to sharing the energy efficiency story in all of them!
Tiffany resides in the Chicagoland area in a Host Family setting. Tiffany is recognized at Envision for her outstanding accomplishments in community and public service. Tiffany retains a position at Mariano's where she is known for her hard work, dedication and commitment to her job. Tiffany actively participates in Envision for Freedom Self Advocacy Group meetings (which is a part of the Illinois Alliance of Self Advocates). During the meetings Tiffany encourages her peers to become proactive in advocating for themselves. Tiffany's abilities to motivate others has played a vital role in her leadership skills and teamwork. In addition, she is an extraordinary athlete. She has competed in a variety of sports earning gold medals and an opportunity to compete through-out Illinois. Tiffany has proven that she is capable of mastering anything she tackles. Tiffany's determination to reach her goals is admirable. Tiffany will continue to inspire others as she embarks on this new and exciting experience.
Park Lawn Services
Andy is a Park Lawn participant. Andy is known for his pleasant disposition, outgoing personality, love of Chicago's sports teams, and his ability to create tasty treats in the kitchen. He enjoys spending his free time with family and friends; shooting pool, singing Karaoke, attending concerts, and playing bags. If you call Park Lawn's Vocational Services, you may have the pleasure of being greeted by Andy, who works as an office assistant at the reception desk.
Shore Community Services
Kevin is a graduate of Maine East High School and also attended a non-degree Liberal Arts program at Oakton Community college for 4 years. Kevin's work history includes Warehouse Fulfillment at Opportunity Medical, where he also served as a member of the Safety Committee, Front Desk Reception at Oakton Community College, and Packaging and Assembly work at Shore Koenig Training Center. Kevin practices energy saving solutions at home such as using energy efficient light bulbs, keeping lights on a timer, timing the thermostat, and recycling.
Brian is a lifelong resident of Tinley Park who graduated with honors with a BA in geography in 2014. Through his academic course work, volunteer experience and participation in environmental clubs, Brian has knowledge of environmental issues and is highly interested in conservation. Also, Brian enjoys attending sports game and follows Chicago professional sports teams with a strong passion. Brian enjoys traveling with his family and spending time with his two dogs.
Ray Graham Association
Danielle is happy to be the ComEd Energy Force Ambassador representing Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities. Danielle lives in the western suburbs, and is a graduate of Glenbard South High School and of the Glenbard Transition Program. She is an experienced equestrian; she rides at Ray Graham Association's Hanson Center barn in Burr Ridge as a participant in the Therapeutic Horsemanship Program. Danielle recently returned from Special Olympics equestrian events with bronze and gold medals. Danielle sings in the STARS choir as part of College Church's disability ministry, and participates in a book club with other Transition Program alums. She also attends NEDSRA's TREC program where she is challenged to reach her potential through recreational activities and community involvement. Those who know Danielle describe her as cheerful, helpful, kind, friendly, caring, and fun-loving.
Cristian is a graduate of Gage Park High School and has been with El Valor since 2010. One of the first big trips Cristian signed up for was the annual weeklong trip to Camp Confidence in Brainard, Minnesota in August 2011. He went camping with a group of friends and Coach Cruz in which he was able to truly experience wilderness activities.
Joseph a.k.a. "JJ" is a graduate of Rochelle Township High School and has been with Kreider Services since 2016. JJ is known for his love of Anime, video games, Mt. Dew and chips. He enjoys listen to the bands such as Skillet, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace and Imagine Dragons. He is involved in basketball and flag football when not working at Day Services. JJ is excited to meet new, interesting people and to be involved as a ComEd Energy Force Ambassador.
GiGi's Playhouse Down Syndrome Awareness Center
Kathryn graduated from Waubonise Valley High School in 2010 with an academic diploma and just completed a 2 year certification program at Technical Center of DuPage in Data Entry. She continues to take academic classes in the Naperville, IL District 204 Transition program.
Kathryn is currently taking classes at College Of DuPage and is a board member at GiGi's Playhouse, a center that serves families with children who have Down syndrome. She has also participated in Special Olympics for several years and holds multiple gold, silver and bronze medals.
Daniel Smrokowski was born premature and was diagnosed at a young age with learning disabilities and a severe language disorder. He is now an award-winning columnist covering special needs stories. Daniel is the founder of Special Chronicles, a pioneering nonprofit new media network that gives respect and voice to people with special needs. Daniel is also involved as an athlete and global messenger with Special Olympics Illinois. In December 2012, Daniel graduated from Roosevelt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. Daniel received first place for "Best Original Column" in the 2016 Illinois Press Association. Daniel was named among 10 other advocates, a national finalist for the American Association of People with Disabilities 2015 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award. He was the recipient of the 2012 Les H. Brownlee Scholarship from the Chicago Headline Club. Daniel was also the recipient of the 2012 Matthew Freeman Award for Social Justice from Roosevelt University for his continuing efforts via media and reporting to give people with disabilities a voice.
Through his work as a Podcaster, Blogger, award-winning Journalist, Public Speaker, Multimedia specialist, radio show host, and Award-winning Special Olympics athlete, he enjoys spreading the message to respect and give voice to others, like himself, who were diagnosed with the "disability" label.
Easter Seals Chicago
Maurice has beaten the odds. A young man living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has achieved his college degree and a job. For many with autism spectrum disorder, such achievements are beyond reach. Maurice, however, exhibits milder effects of the complex neurological disorder. Despite that advantage, Maurice's future was uncertain for most of his childhood. Before his first birthday, his parents, Jennifer and Willie, noticed a change.
UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago
Danny Temponeras is a participant at UCP Seguin, he graduated from Morton West High School and currently does work at the Mooney's Car Wash operated by UCP Seguin to build his talents. He has been an asset to the organization and loves technology. He is fascinated by the inner working of things especially electronics and cars. He says he loves to work around people. He is forward thinking and has excellent verbal communication skills and takes instructions well. He enjoys the phrase, "Work Smarter not harder" and uses his iPhone Siri frequently for tasks. To his credit, he built his own computer from used parts from other computers. He says his computer has ''no name" because it is a combination of various components from different manufacturers. Because of his curiosity, he likes to use the internet to find how things work and therefore says "YouTube teaches me how to take things apart and put them together".
Special Olympics Chicago
Lucas is a lifelong resident of Chicago. He graduated from Solorio Academy in 2014. He has worked and volunteered for the Chicago Park District for the past 6 summers as a Junior Counselor and enjoys helping young children. Lucas loves sports and is a huge fan of the Chicago teams - especially the Cubs and Bulls. He enjoys watching games and keeping track of scores. Lucas has participated in Special Olympics for the past 2 years and has recently become an Ambassador for Special Olympics. He also loves playing with his dog and talking to and interacting with people everywhere.
Best Buddies Illinois
Dana is a lifelong Chicagoland resident, who grew up in the Oak Park school district and currently resides in a group home near Oak Park. Dana is known for her work ethic and vibrant personality. Dana has been involved in Best Buddies Programs since Middle School and now not only volunteers for the organization, but also commutes to work in the Chicago office twice a week as a Programs Assistant for Best Buddies Illinois. Dana is also a strong self-advocate, and a member of the Best Buddies Ambassador Program. She has spoken at numerous schools in the Chicagoland area as well as at various State Fundraisers for the Illinois office. Dana is an inspiration to others and she is looking forward to growing in another community leadership role with ComEd.
Duffy was born in Northbrook, IL and has been a resident of Chicago since 2001. Duffy started working at Anixter Center in 1997 and he enjoys being busy and working with his coworkers. Duffy is passionate about sports; his favorite teams are the Chicago Wolves and Chicago Cubs. In his free time Duffy likes to watch old TV shows like The Brady Bunch and TJ Hooker. He participants each year in the shot-put event for the Special Olympics.
Octavia W. is a 25-year-old woman who has been legally blind since birth. She has lived at Friedman Place – a Supportive Living Program for adults who are blind or visually impaired – for almost three years. Born and raised in Chicago, she attended Curie High School and then the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired in Jacksonville, Illinois. She loves video games and singing and is thrilled to begin her work as a ComEd Energy Force Ambassador.
Northwestern Illinois Center for Independent Living (NICIL)
Xavier is a lifelong resident of Sterling Illinois, located in northwestern Illinois.
Xavier has been faced with many challenges in his life but has overcome many of those challenges because of his strong work ethic. Xavier began volunteering for Goodwill Industries his junior year in high school in October 2012 and was hired on in February 2013 as a Donations Associate where he continues to work part-time. Xavier loves his job and enjoys providing a high level of customer service.
Xavier began attending Sauk Valley Community College in fall 2014. He continues to attend college part-time, working towards an Associate’s degree. Xavier enjoys school and has become very proficient at writing papers. Xavier also volunteers at NICIL once a week answering phones and greeting visitors as they arrive.
Xavier is a member of the Ambassadors Club which is funded by the Bi-County Cooperative Foundation. The Ambassadors Club is a group of young adults with disabilities that meet socially to work together as a team to give back to their community. Xavier is also active in Special Olympics and has had the privilege of attending State competition several times.
Xavier has a positive attitude and a million-dollar smile! It is this attitude and tremendous work ethic that will help him accomplish all his hopes and dreams. In the future, Xavier plans to live independently with the support of his family and NICIL services.